Ever Get The Feeling You’ve Been Cheated?

That was Johnny Rotten’s famous quote before walking off the stage in disgust after the Sex Pistols’ final gig in San Francisco in 1978. It also sums up how I feel about working in rock ‘n’ roll these days. Rock ‘n’ roll has been the main focus of my life for the last 22 years and I honestly feel like it’s mostly been a waste of time. Up until a few years ago I was making my entire living off of it — my own record label, working for another label, my own PR company, DJing, freelance writing — and loving it. Now I’m hastily trying to get out of it as fast as possible. I’ve been selling, giving away, and even throwing away large chunks of my CD, record and music magazine collection and just trying to be normal. The idea of being the old geek who still collects stuff has scared me shitless. Sometimes I’m saved, like last night when “In The City” by The Jam came on at the bar I was at and I could feel goosebumps, but mostly it’s just depressing. I’ve stopped wanting to see concerts unless it’s a band on Elephant Stone and I just turned in the last pieces of rock ‘n’ roll criticism I will ever write to The Big Takeover and Skyscraper. I retired from DJing last year and just shelved my PR company as I continue to take on more and more hours at my straight job. Ironically enough, one of the articles I wrote for Skyscraper was a review of Jesus and Mary Chain reissues. The JAMC’s 1985 debut Pscyhocandy totally blew me away and made me want to do more than just be a music fan. Now, ALL I want to do is be a music fan and never have to deal with bands, editors, and club owners. The famous British DJ John Peel said that he made a point about not wanting to meet any of his favorite bands, and you know what, he was right. I guess part of this is that I turned 40 two years ago and my focus changed from wanting to be ‘cool’ to wanting to be reasonably well off. There’s a fine line between being a cool hipster and being a fucking joke and I feel like I had been leaning more toward the latter. As far as the current scene goes, I just don’t ‘get it’ any more. Rock ‘n’ roll used to be glamorous and mysterious — now all the ‘hip’ indie bands are fat, ugly, regular people like the Decemberists, Black Angels, and Death Cab For Cutie. Iggy Pop didn’t bleed so Death Cab For Cutie could make enough money to buy a donut factory. The only stake I’ve got left in the rock ‘n’ roll game is Elephant Stone and my interest in that is waning fast. Maybe this is all natural. Rock ‘n’ roll was always supposed to be a young man’s game. My favorite ’60s music writer Nik Cohn retired from music writing in his early 20’s because he thought he was too old! So perhaps it’s high time that I become a fully functioning adult. Better to burn out than fade away…

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